Hello and welcome to my blog :)
Make yourself a nice cup of tea, take a seat on your favourite chair, and let me guide you through my journey with cancer.
There will be plenty of malignant tumours, thousands of mean, cancerous cells and gallons of poison, – expertly named ‘chemotherapy’, flowing through my veins and the pages of this blog.
I know. It’s all so exciting you can barely stand still!
And just to be on the safe side, grab a Kleenex tissues box. Keep it at the ready.
This is not going to be fun. Cancer is not fun.
Before we delve head-on into my cancer diaries, lets take a few moments and get to know each other better.
I consider myself the most unfortunate person from here, to Timbuktu.
And you know what?
I might well be!
Don’t just take my word for it; instead, let us ponder over the facts.
My name is Andrea Si (not quite, but close enough).
I am 49 years old.
I’ve been living in Dublin, Ireland for the past 15 years, but I’m not Irish. Unfortunately I’ve got no cute freckles, no Titian red hair and shiny curls to be proud of and show to the world. I love Ireland though, and with my curless hair blowing in the winds, I wander over its green hills chasing enchanted Leprechauns at the end of magic rainbows. Even if it’s only in my imagination, I’m Irish too.
I should also add that English is not my first language – please excuse the inevitable mistakes.
Very, totally single.
10 years ago I broke up with my 8 year-long partner, and since then, have never been able to go back on the dating scene again. Ten years and not even a date, let alone anything more intimate.
A decade is a long time and I think I know why it happened.
First, it’s the darn competition.
Have a look at all these amazing Irish women surrounding me. They’re so beautiful, they take my breath away. No wonder men don’t lovingly serenade my windows. These men are smart, they know they would be doing it at the wrong glass.
And then, I’m also shy and independent.
To tell you the truth, I quite liked being single.
Today however, I’m paying a high price.
49 years old, diagnosed with cancer and I have no one to turn to.
No husband, no boyfriend and also, no family.
And that brings us to my family. Or lack of it.
I’m the only child. No brothers, no sisters.
My mother died of ovarian cancer. I was 11, she was 38. Beautiful and young, intelligent and highly educated, my mother was my hero, my life.
The day she died, cancer got super-efficient. Not only it took away my mother’s life, but it ended mine too.
Her death teared a hole in my soul.
It hurts and bleeds, today as much as ever. Incapable of healing, I lived a wounded life, constantly missing and looking for her love.
A couple of years after the death of my mother, my father remarried. A naval architect he designed beautiful ships to conquer the seas. The pay-cheques were fat and the social status was high. Widowed and with only one child (me), my father decided the time was right to reward himself with a consolation trophy. Nothing more suitable to such a successful man, than a shiny, new bride.
I bet you already know what’s coming. It’s a sad cliché, and you’ve heard it a thousand times before.
The age gap between the newly weds – 18 years.
My fathers’ wife was much closer to my age than his.
Imagine this slightly cheap, overly glamorous looking thing, with long, vivid red nails, (I hated her nails, they were long, curved and she always painted them in bright red), big boobs (natural, I have to add), high heels, short skirts and plenty of makeups.
The epitome of a stepmother from hell.
Mean, jealous and completely uncaring.
With no children of her own, my stepmother regards me as the enemy. To be eradicated. She thinks she hates everything about me, but in reality there’s only one thing she can’t stand – the fact that I was born.
At the time of their marriage I was a child, young and innocent. I didn’t understand certain things. By certain things I mean things like the mystifying power of sex and long, red nails, over middle-aged men with attractive bank accounts.
Suddenly cornered in my room, I would cry and miss my mother everyday. I missed my father too, and kept on wondering what had happened to his love for me. Where did it all go? What did the carefully manicured red nails do to it? Scratch it out of existence?
Whatever they did, I never got my father’s affection back, and at some point I simply had to stop begging.
‘Grow up Andrea! He doesn’t love you anymore! Now go on, live your own life!’
And I did.
Last time I spoke with my father, 17 years ago.
He doesn’t know I’m dying, and I have no intention of contacting him.
Beware young mothers out there!
This was a lesson for you.
Don’t you dare get cancer, die and leave your children to your husbands!
Today they might look like wonderful, caring fathers, but give it a few more years and the long, red nails may well start tearing deep into the souls of your children too.
Stay alive and away from cancer ladies, take good care of yourselves. Your kids need you!
And now, since you’ve learned a little bit about me, let us go back to Timbuktu.
Am I getting the prize?
Am I indeed the most unfortunate person on the planet and on the road to Timbuktu?
Well, let’s summarize.
Old? (49) Tick.
No family? Tick.
Status of bank accounts? (Less than 10 euros). Tick.
Properties? (I pay rent for a small attic on top of a house. One tiny room, one window, one bathroom). Tick.
Any other assets? (A 5-year-old computer, a diamond ring). Tick.
And what about cancer? (Bingo!) Tick! Tick! TICK!
(getting tick-er happy)
Is it a lot of cancer? More than usual? TICK! TICK! TICK!
There are millions of people diagnosed with cancer all over the world. There are innocent children fighting cancerous cells, flickering lights in the night, who die before even having had a chance to live. The thought of them, and every other cancer patient, breaks my heart.
Tears roll down my face, and I whisper a wish.
I wish that you, the cancer patient, would read my story; I wish that it would give you hope and strength to fight this back.
Because although you know quite a lot about me, there’s something about my story I haven’t told you yet. My diagnosis.
And that is what makes me unique.
It is precisely my diagnosis that elevates me to the top of the list for the prize to Timbuktu.
It’s a terrible and ugly thing, my diagnosis, but look!
I’m still alive!
If someone like me can make it, so can you!
Get up, right now, and start the fight!
For your mothers and daughters, for your family and friends, for all those around you, who love and cherish you, fight this back!
I spent a lot of time on this page, and it wasn’t easy. I’m sick and I’m in pain. You owe me a promise.
Promise me that you will never give up.
Promise me that you will do everything you can, to stop it from killing you.
Promise me that you will stand tall and beautiful, look up at the stars, and tell them: ‘I will live another day!’
Promise me …
Fading in the distance, I will be shadowing you, and thinking of you, while holding tight to my golden Timbuktu prize. You won’t be alone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And now, before we click on ‘Cancer Diaries’, let us spend a few more moments to talk about this blog.
I’m going to start with my fear of writing it.
It took me a long time to gather enough courage to open these doors.
This blog is personal, intimate and sometimes a bit sad.
Please remember that this is my soul you’re looking into. I’ve got cancer, I’m lonely and sick. Be gentle.
This blog is dedicated to cancer patients all over the world. It is dedicated to you, the bold, the shaking and the frightened cancer patients with tears in their eyes and shadows of Death hanging over their heads.
I understand your fears and I cry over your pains.
I am one with you.
My goal with this blog is to try to help.
If I can achieve that, even in the smallest way, my wish is granted and I’m rewarded with joy.
I want to give.
Please take, this is all for you!
This blog will guide you through my journey with cancer. I will tell you how I felt and what I did, but there will be no advice.
One important rule to keep in mind is that when it comes to cancer, one size does not fit all.
Cancer is a highly sophisticated and personalised disease. What worked for me, may not work for you, what happened to me, will probably not happen to you.
The only people capable of correctly treating you are your doctors. Always follow their advice.
To those searching for miracle treatments, a word of warning – there will be none. I have no idea how to cure cancer. But I’m in good company here, because nobody does.
Let me tell you that again – nobody knows how to cure cancer.
A reliable cure, a cure to work for (most) everyone and all types of cancer, has not yet been discovered and it will take a long time before they finally do. If ever.
Cancer is a super-intelligent, incredibly complicated, natural way of killing us.
Later on in this blog, I will go a lot deeper into the mechanics of cancer, but for now, know this: cancer was designed to not be easily beaten.
Today, cancer kills 1 in 4 people. 1 in 2 men, 1 in 3 women. It is indeed a mighty efficient manner to end our lives.
Yes, many, many people win the fight over cancer. They survive it, (please note, the keyword here is ‘survive’) for 5, 10 and even 25 years. But to insure success, there are a lot of variables that need to come into play - type of cancer, stage of cancer, pathology of the malignant cells, age and health of patient, to name just a few. And don’t forget the hand of Fate, your lucky star.
Is it shining your way?
Is chemotherapy working?
Was surgery successful?
If your answer was three times ‘Yes!’, then you have them all – fate, stars and the science of medicine paving your way to a long, long life.
Enjoy it and remember to be kind to other people. Every day.
I’m not a cancer survivor. This story doesn’t have a happy ending. My journey with cancer is still unfolding and it will probably end with my death.
Oh! Come-come now! No need to be sad and worry about the future.
I’m not dead yet!
Alive and kicking, and without further ado, I invite you to follow me on, to the world of ‘Cancer Diaries’.
Let’s find out how it all began …